With the anticipated depletion of public IPv4 addresses and the rise of IoT, savvy network administrators are finally embracing IPv6. But where do you start in your transition from IPv4 to IPv6?
The IPv4 has stopped being a feasible system because of the incredible amount of devices that need to connect to the Internet. Because of this, many countries and organizations have increased their adoption of IPv6. In the United States alone, nearly half of the traffic that Google tracked in 2022 came from IPv6 users.
It is understandable that some companies need time to adopt IPv6. For one, not all devices and routers are compatible with IPv6. Moreover, it takes time and human resources to implement a new Internet protocol within a network. But all this work is better done sooner rather than later.
To ensure a smooth and uninterrupted connectivity to the Internet, now is a good time to switch from IPv4 to IPv6. Additionally, switching to IPv6 comes with other benefits:
Many top websites have reported that IPv6 transfers data from their centers to end-users. Facebook, for example, has reported that accessing the site can be 10% to 15% faster over IPv6.
In absolute terms, IPv4 and IPv6 can be just as secure. However, IPv6 is more secure by design. IPv6 has built-in encryption and integrity-checking, which means that it has security features already included in its implementation.
IPv6 uses a simpler routing protocol than IPv4. This can make it easier to manage and troubleshoot networks.
There is no way around the transition from IPv4 to IPv6. In the future, most websites and devices will use IPv6. Making that transition now will make sure that you are not left behind.
The current version of Internet protocol, IPv4, was deployed in 1983. It is a combination of numbers that serve as the address for any device that connects to the Internet.
IPv4 uses four sets of numbers separated by periods, like 192.168.0.3. The number of addresses that can be generated with IPv4 is limited. So much so that we've already run out of IPv4s.
On the other hand, IPv6 addresses are written as eight sets of four hexadecimal digits. It uses a combination of letters and numbers, on a larger space. This system makes it possible to generate massive amounts of IP addresses -- ensuring that we are not likely to run out of IP addresses in the future.
There are different strategies that your company can adapt to transition from IPv4 to IPv6.
This means enabling both IPv4 and IPv6 in your network so that the system can communicate with devices that use either IP version. It requires having a router that can receive both IPv4 and IPv6 communication.
This strategy is commonly used in campus and access networks, as a way to move to IPv6 while allowing older devices to remain on the network.
Tunneling allows IPv6 packets to be sent over an IPv4 network. It encloses the IPv6 packets within IPv4 packets, so they can travel across an IPv4 network. There is no need to upgrade an existing infrastructure to tunnel IPv6 traffic. Both routers and hosts can use tunneling to communicate with IPv6 networks.
Translation helps in facilitating communication between IPv4 and IPv6 networks. It converts addresses from one type to another so that devices using IPv4 can communicate with devices using IPv6. Translation is mainly used for older equipment that cannot be upgraded to IPv6.
Although this system is effective, it comes with an overhead cost.
In broad terms, these are the steps that you will take to transition your network to IPv6:
You need to assess your current network to determine which devices and services support IPv6. You also need to determine if you need to use a transition mechanism.
You need to develop a plan for your transition to IPv6. This plan should include a timeline, budget, and resources.
To deploy IPv6, you'll need to upgrade devices, configure routers, and update software in your network. Moreover, you'll need people with the right networking skills to make this happen.
You need to test your network to make sure that it is working properly. This includes testing IPv6 connectivity and performance.
Once you are satisfied with your testing, you can migrate your network fully to IPv6. This means disabling IPv4 on your network and routing all traffic over IPv6.